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Keep Your Franchise Running Smoothly

Owning your own franchise can be a dream come true. Follow these tips to keep it operating efficiently.

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Once you've bought a franchise, you'll be your own boss. Then it's time to make a success of the company and bring your own energy, joy and hard work to the mix. So.

Watch your pennies. Franchise specialists will tell you that most franchises, like most small-business operations, run on narrow profit margins. Success lies in your willingness to immerse yourself in the control of the expense side of the business.

It's people, people, people. Location is important, but if you're running a retail franchise, your biggest challenge may be finding people to fill the working crew. Economic prosperity and low unemployment mean everyone is looking for solid employees. Offer competitive wages and strong benefits.

Sweat the small stuff. The real magic of retail marketing takes place at the counter, the point of sale. Small things like eye contact, a cheerful greeting, a smile, and a subtle sales spin that promotes specials and larger orders can nudge the narrow margins into clear profitability. The best franchise programs insist on attention to detail at the front counter. The solution: ongoing training of counter or sales crew.

Connect with the customer. Outreach programs are the hot topics among franchisees these days. Direct-mail promotions bring 'em into the store: Coupons, punch cards, discount specials, and even programs allowing the counter staff to learn and remember the names of regular customers are drawing new attention from franchisees in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace.